In an effort to climb out of the financial hole that taking the California State Bar put me in I have been driving for Uber and Lyft. After spending so much time studying and indoors it has been very nice to be out among people again.
Overall it has been a positive experience. I have provided a need and met many different and amazing people in the process. The only negative about it is that given the amount of time, wear and tear on my car, and risk I am taking, Uber and Lyft do not pay nearly enough. I know they provide the background checks, the software, and the passengers, but my personal risk exceeds the amount of compensation. I am not going to say anything further about the compensation because frankly, the current benefits outweigh them.
The benefits are: I have a flexible schedule that allows me to earn money while I look for full-time work. I get to provide for my family, pay my bills on time, and meet diverse people.
Uber v. Lyft
So far I have learned that Uber is more popular and appeals to men. Lyft, on the other hand, is not quite as popular as Uber but women prefer it (I had only a few male passengers with Lyft). I am pretty sure that has to do with Lyft having a pink mustache for their logo in the beginning. Lyft’s color is still pink despite them dropping the (weird) pink mustache. Uber is black and has a bold U for their logo. Also, Uber’s font appeals to men more than women. It is a sans-script font that is bold, whereas, Lyft’s font is more rounded and curved.
My passengers were so different. Everyone from parents of the bride to an addict going to rehab for the 8th or 9th time. Some of my passengers wanted to share their stories while others tended to be more reserved. I found that younger people like sitting in the back and do not like to talk. Older people like to sit in the front of the car and love to talk. It is fascinating listening to their troubles, stories, and anecdotes.
Uber and Lyft – Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water
The man I drove to rehab in Los Angeles had just been kicked out of a San Diego rehab. They had accused him of being on drugs despite successfully passing a drug test. I spent over 2 1/2 hours (including traffic) driving him there. I listened a lot. One thing that was interesting was that he talked for the entire first hour almost entirely about himself. He did not inquire about me or driving or anything related to spending the next two hours of his life with me.
I drove a woman home who had gotten lost while running. She lost her way because it was dark. The woman requested an Uber and I picked her up on the corner of the road. She was supposed to have gone out earlier but was unable and ended up in an area she was unfamiliar. She was in her first week of training for a marathon.
Another woman I drove to a bar was sexually battered the previous night. The “man” (I use quotes because a real man would never have done what he did) was intoxicated. His friends dared him to grope my passenger. He walked up to her, apologized (as though that somehow would make it better), and then proceeded to grab her breast. She had him kicked out of the Bar. I thought for sure she would have called the police.
Final Thoughts on Uber and Lyft
I have never met these people before yet they trusted me with their life. They will get into my car trusting that I would deliver them to their destination safely. I take that responsibility very seriously.
Some people believe that I only provide transportation from point A to point B. In some ways, Uber and Lyft ride provide only a discrete transaction where most likely I will never see them again. In other ways, I have the opportunity to be a brief voice for good in their life. I cheered on the addict going to rehab, urged the woman who was sexually battered to file a police report and counseled the woman to not go running near dark. I get to make a small yet meaningful difference in their lives if only for a moment. Sometimes a moment is all it takes.